We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Melanie Alston. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Melanie below.
Melanie, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – walk us through the story?
I believe attempting to develop and create a new product and trying to get the word out about it was risky during Covid -19. While a lot of businesses were shutting down and trying to pivot to stay afloat I was risking a lot by investing any extra money and down time to make and introduce a new product that people may not even care about – especially during a pandemic.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I provide a comfort footwear solution sock hosiery product that is highly needed for people who are on their feet and need relief from the pressure and impact of standing extended amounts of time, walking or running. I am most proud of the feedback I have gotten so far from women that have worn the product and when they tell me what a huge difference it makes for their overall foot comfort. Our feet affect so much of our entire body and being in comfort is a high priority.
For those who are just learning about Fushionz, the product was created over many experiences through out my life. After a lot of sport activities over the years such as track, cross country, marching band and working so many different jobs standing extended long hours on my feet, I realized there weren’t any sock products that offered this level of targeted support and comfort. I wanted to make a product available to people where they would be in comfort with there shoes on or off during or after a long day and not limited to how or where they could where it. I started working on this idea little by little, and finally I’m at this point where I’m trying to create brand awareness.
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
I first started off with a lot of sweat- equity and as Daymond John calls it “The Power of Broke”. I was in a Pro-Se program initially where I learned about patenting and how to write my own patents in a pilot Pro-Se program that was initiated by President Obama in 2014 for independent inventors. This was created to level the playing field for innovators and create new opportunities. I joined it after a call was made to me and someone mentioned it as a new initiative and a great learning opportunity. My back was against the wall after I was dropped and turned away by more than several patent attorneys. One attorney even put in writing and charged me over $200 for his advice. After much frustration, I started to learn as much as I could and do as much as I could do that didn’t require money. I kept moving forward from that point and meeting mentors like Eric Vieira in San Diego, Ca. He is a patent attorney and has mentored me along the way in the jungle of patents and entrepreneurship.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I feel like my life has always been full of pivots and last minute and even down to the second of quick stressful thinking decisions. I have had to trust my gut and cross my fingers and say lots of prayers. I have had so many instances where I have had to make a pivot or quick decision, or a close call heart attack moment- it’s endless and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one time. There’s tons of pressure along the way of entrepreneurship when you don’t know what you don’t know. I am constantly reading up on or studying about something new. I really enjoy everything I’m learning and I feel like a much stronger person with the knowledge I am gaining along the way of this journey. The knowledge you learn is priceless.
- Website: www.fushionz.com
- Instagram: Fushionz_hosiery
- Facebook: Fushionz
- Linkedin: Melanie Y. Alston
- Youtube: Fushionz